Army to pair National Guard, Reserve units with active-duty units
By COREY DICKSTEIN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 22, 2016
WASHINGTON — Some Army National Guard and Reserve units will pair directly with active-duty units beginning in the summer to integrate the part-time soldiers into the regular Army to prepare them better for combat, the Army announced Tuesday.
The pilot program, called Associated Units, will establish formal relationships between the reserve and active components, allowing units to train and eventually deploy together, said Maj. Olivia Nunn, an Army spokeswoman.
The active Army is set to shrink to 450,000 soldiers by the end of next year, yet demands for soldiers around the world continue to rise. As of February, the Army had 190,000 soldiers deployed to about 140 countries, according to information in the service’s 2017 budget. It has forced the Army to rely “more heavily” on National Guardsmen and reservists “to meet the demands of a complex global environment,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.
The program is part of the Total Force concept that Milley has championed since he was sworn in as the Army’s top general in August.
By late summer, 14 National Guard units and two Army Reserve units are expected to be paired with active formations and integrated training should begin in the fall. The first units to begin the integration process are the Georgia Army National Guard’s 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and the Georgia-based 3rd Infantry Division, which has units at Fort Benning and Fort Stewart.
The units will begin to plan training exercises to conduct together in June, said Desiree Bamba, Georgia Army National Guard spokeswoman. Combined training is expected to start in October. National Guard troops would then spend their required training working directly with 3rd ID soldiers during home station training events and rotations to combat training centers.
By training directly with the full-time soldiers, the new program will give the 48th IBCT soldiers “better opportunities for personal and professional growth,” said Army Brig. Gen. Joe Jarrard, the Adjutant General of Georgia. The program will better prepare the National Guardsmen to deploy and allow them to “sustain higher readiness and reduce training requirements when activated.”
National Guard and Army Reserve units have been activated for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan since the wars there first began roughly 15 years ago. While the part-time units have at times trained directly with active-duty units, they have not previously been permanently paired with a specific unit.
The Associated Unit program will help the units build camaraderie and a better understanding of how each operates, said Army Lt. Gen. Timothy J. Kadavy, the director of the Army National Guard.
The 48th IBCT “will train and, if called to do so, deploy and fight with the 3rd Infantry Division,” Kadavy said in a prepared statement
“These units will develop relationships and standards in home station so they may fight together in combat without having to meet on the battlefield and figure these things out,” he said.
Other Associated Units program units
- The 1st Battalion, 143 Infantry Regiment from the Texas Army National Guard will be associated to the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team stationed in Vicenza, Italy;
- The 1st Battalion, 151 Infantry Regiment from the Indiana Army National Guard will be associated to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division stationed in Schofield Barracks, Hawaii;
- The Hawaii-based 100th Battalion, 442 Infantry Regiment, U.S. Army Reserve, will be associated with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division stationed in Schofield Barracks, Hawaii;
- The 81st Armored Brigade Combat Team, Washington Army National Guard, will be associated with the 7th Infantry Division stationed in Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington;
- The 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, stationed in Fort Polk, Louisiana, will be associated with the Texas Army National Guard’s 36th Infantry Division;
- The 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team from the Vermont Army National Guard will be associated with the 10th Mountain Division, stationed in Fort Drum, New York;
- The North Carolina-based 824th Quartermaster Company, U.S. Army Reserve, will be associated with the 82nd Sustainment Brigade, stationed in Fort Bragg, North Carolina;
- The 249th Transportation Company, Texas Army National Guard, and the 1245th Transportation Company, Oklahoma Army National Guard, will be associated with the 1st Cavalry Division Sustainment Brigade, stationed in Fort Hood, Texas;
- The 840th Engineer Company, Texas Army National Guard, will be associated with the 36th Engineer Brigade, stationed in Fort Hood, Texas;
- The 1176th Transportation Company, Tennessee Army National Guard and the 2123rd Transportation Company, Kentucky Army National Guard, will be associated with the 101st Sustainment Brigade, stationed in Fort Campbell, Kentucky; and
- The 5th Engineer Battalion, stationed in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, will be associated with the 35th Engineer Brigade from the Missouri Army National Guard.